Fiserv Boosts Credit Union Core Functionality and Expanded Capabilities with Portico
By Roy Urrico
Brookfield, Wis.-based payments and financial services technology solutions provider Fiserv announced enhancements to its Portico core banking platform that include operating in a Microsoft Azure cloud environment, provide greater flexibility and scalability, and facilitating innovation and growth among its credit union clients.
Based on a service-oriented architecture, Fiserv describes Portico as a sophisticated, real-time transaction account-processing solution with a zero-footprint infrastructure that supports credit union growth by offering intuitive user experience, logical workflows, and expedited training.
“We are focused on powering credit unions with technology that allows them to operate more efficiently and respond quickly to their members’ changing needs,” said Doug Donofrio, senior vice president and head of Credit Union Solutions at Fiserv.
Cloud Migration Benefits
With the migration of Portico to the cloud, credit union clients will enjoy greater flexibility, with the ability to enhance the experience of both staff and members, and will be able to access additional capabilities via both Fiserv and third-party integrations,” said Donofrio. He added a cloud-based deployment model helps financial institutions deliver maximum uptime, enabling the continual delivery of a “consistently excellent client experience” for credit unions and their members.
Donofrio also noted enhancements to the user experience (UX)/user interface (UI) on Portico. “We have not just redone it to make it look nicer. We have actually changed some of the functionality as well.”
Other Portico capabilities include improved monitoring tools, architecture improvements for speed and efficiency, tightly monitored controls, and compartmentalized disaster recovery environments, which reduce complexity and potential points of failure.
Enthusiasm Over the Credit Union Space
“We are pretty excited about the credit union space,” Donofrio explained to Finopotamus. “We're surpassing 500 (credit union) clients, on Portico now. That is a quickly growing number stemming from both internal transfers as well as new clients coming into Fiserv.”
He credited some of the technology improvement to providing the impetus. “A back-office screen might have had 10 screens before. (Now) we try to take that down to one or two screens so it is more efficient for the credit unions,” said Donofrio.
He added, Fiserv also invested in its conversion capacity. “There has been a lot of investment in using automation to help with that process.”
Integrations Equip Credit Unions for Innovation
Donofrio pointed out operating in the cloud and opening the core has helped create a more active opportunity to integrate other solutions. “We have open APIs (application programming interfaces) for Portico, and have worked with over 400 different connections to other fintechs,” said Donofrio.
A couple of recent third-party integrations into Portico include MessagePay, which allows credit union members to make self-service ACH and debit card payments on outstanding loans, and Eltropy’s digital conversations platform that powers two-way texting capabilities between members and their credit unions, with texts generated directly from the Portico platform.
The $92.5 million Honolulu (Hawaii) Fire Department Federal Credit Union took advantage of both the MessagePay and Eltropy integrations with Portico, creating a real-time solution for members to make loan payments and see the results instantly within their digital banking applications.
“We pride ourselves on offering unique solutions to our fire department and firefighter membership, equipping them to manage their finances in the ways that are most convenient for them, at any time of the day or night,” said Guy Usui, CEO, Honolulu Fire Department FCU. “With Portico at the heart of our credit union, we have the flexibility to quickly respond to our members’ changing needs.”
Fitting Credit Unions with The Right Core
“We have a lot of different cores for our clients. We have some clients where there is no need to change or do anything different. So, we, we support those cores. We do have a lot of clients that are looking to do something different. Maybe they are an in-house today, and they want, us to run their system,” noted Donofrio.
He continued, “We have the best of both worlds. A lot of our clients do not want to be in the vendor management space. They want to go to one place and say, ‘Hey, you know, where can I get my digital? Where can I get my cards, my core, all under one roof.’ We can provide that. We have great internal integrations. And then we also have external (integrations) through our APIs (application program interfaces).”
Donofrio explained some smaller Fiserv credit unions clients want to get out of the business of running their own cores in-house. “So, they come to Portico, because it is a SaaS (software as a service) model.”
In addition, Donofrio mentioned Portico has a wide range of different size credit unions, using the core system throughout the U.S. “From very small credit unions all the way up to over $1 billion in assets.”
Every credit union is in a different place, emphasized Donofrio. “We do have a lot of clients moving to Portico, but we have a lot that are staying on their current core and doing well. Every core is different on their integrations and different on the type of service.” They include those running in Fiserv’s data center and some running a Fiserv core in-house at their credit union.
Donofrio pointed out something else plaguing some credit unions, some of the technologists running their systems in the credit unions may be retiring. “It is too hard to train someone new to come and run this. “So, they ask can you guys run it for us?”
Said Donofrio, “We're passionate about serving all our clients, not just large clients. We are looking at how we can create a better experience so they can spend more time with their members, because that is really what they want.”